Cenla Leaders Respond to Dabadie Closing - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

Cenla Leaders Respond to Dabadie Closing

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ALEXANDRIA, La. - Governor Jindal's veto of money to keep the Dabadie correctional center open sent a shockwave to Cenla. Some angry lawmakers met to try to figure out what to do to save the prison - and its jobs. News Channel Five's Nolan Crane reports.

Everyone that we spoke with today say the decision Bobby Jindal made, to save money by closing Dabadie will end up doing the opposite because the work the prisoners did cannot be replaced inexpensively.

State Representative Herbert Dixon says taking jobs away from Cenla is something Governor Jindal has been doing for far too long.

"Over two thousand jobs have been lost in Central Louisiana during the first four years of the Jindal administration," says Herbert Dixon.

Dixon says the governor's decision to veto funding and forcing Dabadie to close is another example of Cenla residents getting mistreated.

"We're talking about just-under one hundred positions that are going to be lost with the closure of that prison," says Herbert Dixon.

"Basically he slapped the tax payers in the face. I mean you look at the amount of money that we pay for incarceration rates in Louisiana which averages to about 40 to 50 dollars a day per inmate. That Dabadie facility, the inmates in that facility actually work in the community," says Robert Johnson.

The people we spoke with say closing Dabadie does more than eliminate 100 jobs.

"Economic impact of this with the different communities that are being involved with receiving the inmate labor will be about 7 million dollars," says Robert Johnson.

The inmates at Dabadie also work around towns and cities in Central Louisiana mowing lawns, planting flowers, and picking up trash, and without those inmate workers some worry if the jobs will be done at all.

"We're not sure that we can replace those 20 something labor inmates that come and do labor for us. We're not sure if we can replace them. Financially it's like putting a tax on us that we've got to figure out how we can pass that on to the citizen," says Rich Dupree.

"England Airpark pays about 250-thousand dollars a year to be able to have those inmates, so they are paying part of the cost of doing that. you know it's going to be devastating it's going to cost them over one million dollars to be able to replenish that work force over there that they just lost with the governor's veto," says Robert Johnson.

"Now the tax payers are going to have to pay for some of those job needs that prisoners provided for this community," says Herbert Dixon.

And other politicians are just upset because they feel out of the loop and they don't know what will happen to Dabadie once the prisoners are gone.

"It hasn't been explained to us on the local level how you're actually going to save money, to us it's going to cost our citizens money ultimately and from a governmental stand point the operations to maintain the services that we currently provide are in danger," says Rich Dupree.

"I don't think it's going to stay vacant, I think you're going to see a private prison come around and properly house inmates from Arkansas at 40 dollars a day. And those inmates are going to sit there, they won't be part of a work crews or anything of that nature so basically it's going to make our communities unsafe and its going to pay the tax payers money," says Robert Johnson.

Lawmakers told us there are only two ways that Dabadie can remain open. Governor Jindal can change his mind, or the legislators could vote to override his veto something most agree would be very unlikely.

 

 

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